Critic Reviews



Based on 17 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
Chicago Reader
Duke is a superb director of actors, and, as in "Deep Cover", Fishburne manages to suggest a lot with a deft economy of means.
While Chris Brancato's script doesn't reveal anything new or surprising (students of history and fans of "The Cotton Club" already know how this film ends), it's a competent piece of storytelling that incorporates elements of human interest with the threat of escalating violence.
Duke and his screenwriter, Chris Brancato, don't make Hoodlum into a violent action film, though it has its bloody shoot-outs, but into more of a character study.
It is familiarly old-fashioned, complete with montages of newspaper clippings fluttering past and calendar days slipping by. The sets, costumes, old cars and general atmosphere all beautifully recall moviemaking of a bygone era. And for that, hats off to Duke.
The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
Duke rarely operates at more than a TV movie-of-the-week level of originality, but Hoodlum is still an easy movie to enjoy.
And while Mr. Duke's direction has visual panache, the movie is unevenly paced.
Christian Science Monitor
Laurence Fishburne and Tim Roth play the main characters with conviction, but Bill Duke's punchy filmmaking style banishes any hope of storytelling subtlety or psychological nuance.
At the very least, Hoodlum might have been better off had it been filmed in monochromatic black-and-white instead of the garish color palette (and plenty of gore) that Duke opted for because they, unfortunately, only reinforce the hamminess of the picture.
Hoodlum is an overlong gangster movie, a bloated and often laughable attempt at an epic.
The A.V. Club
A conclusion featuring a dizzying string of betrayals that leads to a confusing anti-climax robs the film of even cheap action thrills, making Hoodlum an almost thoroughly forgettable experience, albeit probably the only film in history to unite Queen Latifah and The Mod Squad's Clarence Williams III.

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